With prescription drug abuse on the rise across the nation, there has been an apparent increase in the number of “pill mills” or clinics that prescribe controlled substances with little to no medical reasoning or examination. These clinics attract drug addicts and street dealers seeking a means to easily obtain prescriptions and refills. It is a serious federal offense to prescribe medication outside the usual course of medical practice and these operations are a target for law enforcement. On August 12, an Ohio physician was convicted by a federal jury for unlawfully distributing opioids and other controlled substances, according to the Department of Justice.
Per court documents and evidence presented at trial, Thomas Romano, 72, owned and operated a self-named pain management clinic. His clients reportedly traveled hundreds of miles to obtain prescriptions for controlled substances. Romano, who charged $750 for an initial prescription and $120 for subsequent monthly prescriptions, only accepted cash. This was likely a glaring red flag for investigators. According to the government, the prescriptions Romano issued for controlled substances “greatly exceeded recommended dosages and were in dangerous, life-threatening combinations which served to fuel the addiction of his clients.” Romano prescribed over 111,000 pills, including opioids, benzodiazepines, and muscle relaxants to nine of his clients.
Romano was convicted of 24 counts of “unlawful distribution of a controlled substance, outside the usual course of professional practice, and not for a legitimate medical purpose.” He faces a maximum of 480 years in prison; 20 years for each charge.
The attorneys at Chilivis Grubman represent clients of all types and sizes in connection with white-collar criminal and health care fraud matters. If you need assistance with such a matter, please contact us today.